CURLs proving effective for offline campaigns

Campaign-specific URLs are becoming a standard fixture in TV, print and radio advertising

Website addresses are becoming more common in offline advertising, according to NetNames, a leading provider of domain-name management services.

The cross-media study reveals company domain names have become a standard fixture in advertising, with creative agencies increasingly including a campaign-specific URL (CURL) to increase and measure the effectiveness of individual advertising campaigns.

The study found that in the past 12 months, 90 per cent of agencies have used a CURL as part of an advertisement. The majority of agencies say they use CURLs because they are easier to remember than a telephone number or mailing address and provide a memorable call to action for consumers. Agencies also claim that CURLs provide companies with a tangible return on marketing investment statistics.

NetNames says CURLs are often based on a famous advertising slogan or point to a specific microsite created to support an advertising or promotional campaign.

The survey found that CURLs are most likely to be featured on TV commercials (14 per cent) and in print ads (ten per cent). Radio ads were the least likely to mention a CURL, with generic company Web addresses being preferred.

“Campaign-specific URLs give companies the opportunity to further leverage the power of a popular ad slogan or jingle as part of their marketing activities,” says Jonathan Robinson, director of business development at NetNames. “By using a CURL, advertisers can direct consumers to a specific microsite or the relevant part of a company website, reducing the number of people who get lost along the way.”

Robinson adds: “Not only can a CURL increase the effectiveness of a campaign, but by providing clients with visitor numbers, it can be an invaluable indicator to calculate the return on investment for a specific advertising or marketing campaign.”

As part of the research, NetNames surveyed the UK’s top ten advertising agencies to gauge the importance they place on domain names in the campaigns they develop. NetNames found that 80 per cent of the agencies said they were likely to incorporate domains into advertisements, especially in print or online media.

Agencies included in the research were Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, McCann-Erickson, Lowe, Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis, M&C Saatchi, J Walter Thompson, Bates UK, WCRS and Grey Worldwide.

The NetNames study also found that 80 per cent of ads in newspapers or magazines incorporate a general company website address, with domains appearing in more than 50 per cent of TV commercials and in 22 per cent of radio ads.

NetNames carried out the URL study in July, gathering information from 50 print, 50 radio and 50 television ads to analyse differences in domain use during a four-week period. Print media monitored were The Times Magazine, Big Issue, Metro, GAT and Heat. Radio stations were Virgin, Radio 1, Heart 106.2, Xfm and Kiss100. TV ads were shown on ITV.

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